Ever wondered Gorilla Trekking Uganda vs Rwanda! Compare gorilla trekking in Rwanda vs Uganda based on prices, accessibility, experiences, and more in this comprehensive guide.
Of the 4 sub-species of gorillas that live in Africa, Mountain Gorillas are by far special species, and amazingly, you can also encounter them in their natural habitat.
It is possible to track these large apes in the 3 African countries: Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. But, of these 3 destinations, Uganda and Rwanda offer absolutely thrilling mountain gorilla treks.
Yes, Uganda and Rwanda offer a lifetime opportunity for you to get up close and personal with mountain gorillas in the wild, but there are some factors every traveler must take into consideration when choosing any of them.
This article looks into those specific factors so as to guide when planning your next gorilla safari.
Where to Go Gorilla Trekking Uganda vs Rwanda?
Mountain gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda are trekked only in the national parks. In Uganda, these large apes occupy two parks: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
This presents visitors a chance to choose their preferred destination to track mountain gorillas on Uganda gorilla safaris. In Rwanda, there is only one option which is visiting Volcanoes National Park. This is where all gorilla safaris in Rwanda are carried out.
Verdict; Comparing Gorilla Trekking Uganda vs Rwanda on basis on park choices, Uganda is the country to go.
You might be interested in; where to see mountain gorillas?
Distance and accessibility from Airports and Cities;
To visit mountain gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda, tourists have to travel up to the parks. Bwindi Impenetrable NP and Mgahinga are lying far from Kampala city center and takes visitors about 8-9 hours’ drive.
A good 4×4 safari vehicle is required for your road trips considering the tough terrain in the countryside.
If you are crossing to Bwindi or Mgahinga from Rwanda, you may take 4-5 hours driving via the Katuna border to Kabale and Chanika border through Kisoro to the Southern sectors of Bwindi NP or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Traveling to Bwindi/Mgahinga is now easier with fly-in safaris. Travelers on gorilla tour in Uganda can fly from Entebbe International Airport (EBB) and land at Kihihi/Kisoro airstrips.
When the weather conditions are favorable, you can spend about 2 hours and you will be in Southwestern Uganda. From Kihihi or Kisoro airstrips, you will be transferred up to the lodges in your respective gorilla trekking safari parks.
Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is regarded as the most reachable gorilla safari park, taking visitors only 2-3 hours’ drive starting from the heart of Kigali city. Its proximity to the city center or Kigali airport makes it possible to organize a 1-day gorilla tour, 2 day gorilla trek in Rwanda.
Verdict; When you compare gorilla trekking Uganda vs Rwanda based on accessibility, Rwanda will offer the best experience.
Number of Mountain Gorillas and the Gorilla Groups;
Overall, over 1063 mountain gorillas still survive in the wild and only reside in Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo.
The largest population of these rare apes live in Uganda, about half of all the remaining mountain gorilla population on the planet while in Rwanda, about 30% of them thrive in the country’s Volcanoes National Park.
Whether you plan to visit Rwanda or Uganda, treks are conducted in already habituated gorilla family groups.
More than 21 habituated gorilla groups have been fully habituated in Uganda alone and they translate to about 168 gorilla permits. At Volcanoes NP, 12 gorilla groups are open for trekking and they attract up to 96 gorilla permits.
Verdict; If you intent to choose between gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda basing on the number of mountain gorillas, gorilla groups or the availability of gorilla permits, Uganda is better.
Gorilla Trekking Experience;
Uganda and Rwanda all provide amazing gorilla trekking opportunities. But their gorilla safari destinations have varying altitudes, whereby the terrain in Rwanda’s Volcanoes NP isn’t as steep as that of Bwindi National Park.
Volcanoes National Park vegetation cover is open than and not as dense as it is in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
If you are interested in more challenging treks, then the best place to visit is Uganda to explore mountain gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla N/Park and Bwindi National Park.
Verdict; If you prefer a more challenging and diverse gorilla trekking experience, visit Uganda else, Visit Rwanda for an easier gorilla trekking experience.
Cost of Gorilla Trekking Uganda vs Rwanda;
Gorilla Trekking Permits and other Costs;
Over 168 gorilla permits are all available for tourists to purchase on gorilla tour in Uganda and each can be obtained at USD 700 person.
While in Rwanda, the cost of gorilla trekking permits stands at USD 1500 per person.
The permits should be booked in advance before the actual date of trekking mountain gorillas and your local expert (All Uganda Safaris Ltd) is in position to arrange a gorilla tour and also book permits on your behalf.
Verdict; When you compare the cost of gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda, yo
Additional Travel Experiences;
There are many other things to be enjoyed on gorilla safaris in Uganda or Rwanda.
While in Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking, you can also go for golden monkey trekking, Iby’iwachu cultural experience, hike the Diane Fossey tombs, visit Ellen DeGeneres center, go on nature walks, bird watching or hike the volcanoes mountains.
Alternatively, while in Rwanda, you can incorporate primate encounters in Nyungwe Forest National Park, Gishwati-Mukura with gorilla safaris or go game viewing in Akagera National Park to see all the big five game in a single habitat.
When you go gorilla trekking in Uganda – Bwindi or Mgahinga, you can track golden monkeys, go on a canoe ride on the nearby lakes, visit the caves, hike mountain Gahinga, do Batwa cultural trail, enjoy birding, community visits or nature walks and gorilla habituation experience.
Also in Uganda, tourists have several chimpanzee tracking options including Kibale National Park, Kalinzu Reserve, Budongo and Kyambura Gorge.
If you are interested in wildlife viewing in the savanna park, there are many spots to be visited including Queen Elizabeth NP (most popular for tree climbing lions), Murchison Falls National Park (most famous for its powerful waterfalls- Murchison Falls), Kidepo Valley and Lake Mburo National Parks.
Overall, Uganda is the best gorilla trekking destination as it offers more at reasonably less cost price.
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